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9 May 2006 : Column 239W—continued

The main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Innovation. The Department is not directly funding research on PDT for cancer, but is providing NHS support through the national cancer research network for two trials of PDT for biliary tract cancers. Over 75 per cent. of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to, and managed by, NHS organisations. Details of individual
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projects, including a number concerned with PDT, can be found on the Department's website on the national research register at

Preventive Technology Grant

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of the preventive technology grant will be; and how it will be distributed. [68564]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government are investing a total of £80 million over two years from April 2006 through the preventive technology grant. The grant determination and allocations to local authorities were notified in Local Authority Circular LAC(2006)5 issued on 23 March, a copy of which is on the Department's website at


Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what health technology assessment has been carried out of alternative treatments for psoriasis. [69132]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently examining the use of efalizumab and etanercept for the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Details are available on NICE'S website at

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many courses of treatment for psoriasis there were in each (a) Government office region and (b) strategic health authority area in the last three years for which figures are available; what the cost per head of treatment was in each year; how many such courses of treatment used (i) corticosteroids, (ii) artificial phototherapy and (iii) heliotherapy in each case; and what the cost was of treatment of psoriasis by each method in each case. [69219]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 2004-05, there were 8,283 finished consultant episodes, in total 49,015 bed days, recorded for all psoriatic conditions.

Prescription data cannot provide the number, or cost, of treatments for psoriasis with corticosteroids as these drugs are prescribed for other conditions.

Section 64 Funding

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will establish contingency plans to mitigate the impact of delays in decisions regarding Section 64 (Health Services and Public Health Act 1968) funding for the voluntary and community sector. [67843]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department understands the implications on voluntary and community sector
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organisations on the delay in decisions concerning Section 64 funding for 2006-07. For those organisations with second or third year commitments, the Department has organised for them to receive an interim amount equivalent to the first quarter payment, this will enable them to continue projects without interruption.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued to hospitals on dealing with patients who self-harm on site. [69341]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published self-harm clinical guidelines for NHS mental health provider trusts in 2004. The NICE guidelines cover the care which patients who harm themselves can expect to receive from healthcare professionals in and outside hospital settings and what they can expect from their treatment.

However, NICE guidelines do not attempt to explain self-harm or describe the treatment for this in detail. This is why the Department and the National Institute for Mental Health in England are re-evaluating current treatment approaches for self-harm, by undertaking an exploratory exercise on the appropriate management of self-harm. This will focus on adult service users, predominantly female, who self-harm as a coping mechanism or survival strategy. The exercise started in January 2006 and will run until autumn. It will ascertain the level of support at both local and regional levels and the evidence base for adopting a harm-reduction approach. It will also judge the appropriateness (with NICE) of developing guidelines and training to facilitate a harm-minimisation approach amongst service providers.

Serious Case Reviews

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many serious case reviews for vulnerable adults have been carried out; and in how many cases the serious case review involved the murder of a vulnerable adult. [69218]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not collected centrally. There is no statutory requirement for statutory agencies to carry out serious case reviews for vulnerable adults. This is a matter for local decision.

The Department, together with the Home Office, issued "No Secrets" as statutory guidance under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. It is designed to help authorities to investigate reports of abuse and develop measures for prevention. It requests local authorities to ensure that local communities are aware of the existence of adult protection procedures and that they know where they can report incidents of abuse.

It provides a complete definition of abuse and a framework for councils to work with the police, the national health service and regulators and other agencies to tackle abuse and prevent it from occurring.
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Specialised Commissioning

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her review of specialised commissioning arrangements has included consultation with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. [69313]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The review into commissioning arrangements for specialised services was set up to consider the way specialised health care services as a whole are commissioned and has not looked at individual services or groups of services. It has not specifically consulted the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, but over 140 individual written submissions were received from a wide range of clinicians, hospital managers, professional bodies, patients' groups and national health services commissioners.

Transient Families

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps she has taken to improve co-operation between the Department and the Welsh Assembly Government on tracking vulnerable adults from transient families; and if she will make a statement. [66940]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Councils locally determine the procedures that ensure information about vulnerable adults, including information relating to risk, is appropriately managed. It is for councils to decide how information, identified through a needs assessment, is to be collected, stored and shared, with due regard to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. The effectiveness of these measures is not monitored centrally.

The social exclusion unit in the Department for Communities and Local Government will publish a report, "Moving On: Reconnecting Frequent Movers", in late spring 2006. The report aims to improve service delivery for people who move frequently. It will include a section on the issues around tracking vulnerable people.

Voluntary Organisations (Compact Agreements)

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with which voluntary organisations the Department has a formal national Compact agreement. [50268]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has no formal national Compact agreements with any individual third sector (voluntary) organisations. The Department does have a strategic agreement with the national health service and the third sector: “Making Partnership Work for Patients, Carers and Service Users” published in September 2004, which is underpinned by and complements the Compact and its codes of good practice.

Wynne Lieberthal

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has received information from the
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Minister of Defence of the Irish Republic about (a) the agency known as Medicare Solutions based in Chessington, Surrey and (b) Wynne Lieberthal; and if she will make a statement. [49703]

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Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 8 February 2006]: We have no record of a communication from the Minister of Defence of the Irish Republic on these issues.

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